Chapter One: "Circumstances Most Unpropitious and Forbidding"The Civil War Begins
"Money!" Abraham Lincoln exclaimed. "I don't know anything about 'money.'"
The President was typically modest, evasive and adept at feigning ignorance when he did not want to be pinned down. At a meeting with a delegation of New York bankers and financiers well into the Civil War, Lincoln fully understood that the United States needed money to save the Union. So did Lincoln's anxious Treasury Secretary, Salmon P. Chase. From the conflict's outset, the Union had had to fight while nearly broke. Chase's initial estimate after the taking of...